The Metro Toronto Convention Centre was the setting for the 17th annual Contessa Awards, a photo competition designed to recognize Canada’s most talented beauty professionals. Of the 22 awards presented at the November 13 ceremony, two went to nail technicians.
The winner in the Nail Enhancement Artist of the Year category was Rheanne Thackeray, a nail tech and esthetician at Kenneth Blair Salon & Spa in Lloydminster, Alberta. This tech of five years admits she’s on something of a roll. “I started competing in Allied competitions two years ago and I’ve been doing really well,” says Thackeray, who was a first-time entrant in the Contessas. Her specialty, she says, is gels: “When I started in nails, they were the hot new product. All my clients get them. It’s pretty much that way throughout the area.”
Jessica-Marie Ellison, an instructor at Yorkville School of Makeup and Esthetics in Toronto, picked up the award for Nail Tech Artist of the Year. (She also won in this category in 2004.) Her theme this year: shoes. “I have a serious love for shoes,” says Ellison. “I love them almost as much as nails.” She also wanted to inject a note of fashion savvy into her entry. “I think people are missing out on the fashion aspect of nails. In terms of nail art, we’re sort of stuck in the ’80s,” says Ellison, who often treats clients to designs featuring stilettos or purses.